I feel silly wanting to be assessed for autism


I recently started studying counselling in an attempt to try and be a better person, someone who makes other people feel good and correct whatever it is about me that seems to make me so... I don’t know... undesirable as a companion.

As part of the process you are supposed to contemplate the events in your life that have made you the way you are and in spite of the traumas I’ve experienced I kept coming back to the realisation that I was always like that.

I used to embrace being alienated from everyone and was a bit of a ruthless know it all and now as an adult, a wife and a mother I’m different. I’m always trying my best to be welcoming, sociable and supportive but people still treat me the same. I somehow always get people’s backs up.

I recently heard a women on the radio talking about having autism and I was surprised how “normal” she sounded and the symptoms of her autism didn’t seem odd to me at all.

I’ve done online tests which all come back as having some degree of autism. My husband thought it was ridiculous for me to think I was autistic (me too actually!) but when I read out a list of traits of high functioning autism even he had to admit out of about 25 I clearly had 23 of them. The severe aspects of my personality that he doesn’t understand.

I have booked myself in to see the GP but I’m feeling silly. I’m worried they’ll think I’m just looking for an excuse for not being a nice person. I’m scared they’ll refuse to assess me. I’m also a bit scared of not being autistic after having made a fuss.

I guess I’m hoping that someone else felt the same when faced with the prospect of finding out if they were autistic? What did the GP say?

  • I made a mess of my GP appointment when I went to ask for an autism assessment referral because I became so flustered and unsure of what I was supposed to say, what she would think of me, whether she would take me seriously. 

    I remember she asked why I thought I had autism and I said "Because I think I'm weird." then I beat myself up for about a week for saying that because it sounded so dumb. She did refer me though and when I eventually had the assessment the result was Asperger's or High-Functioning Autism. (I believe the diagnostic terms are in transition at the moment and that 'Asperger's' will no longer be used.) 

    Despite my growing suspicion that I had autism, in the wait to be assessed I swung constantly between "I really hope so, it would make so much sense!!" to "This is ridiculous, of course I don't, I'm wasting these people's time.", and "OH NO, What if they say I DON'T have it?" I think, from things I've read from others on this site, most people go through this sort of doubt. It's probably natural really considering we've spent our whole lives being told things like "Don't be ridiculous, you're fine, just get on with it." 

    At the end of the assessment though, I was still blown away when she said "Yes". I asked if she was sure, maybe it was just borderline, how accurate was the test really? She said there was absolutely no doubt at all and that I ticked seven out of the eight criteria!!

    That was just in January, at the age of 44, and I'm still getting used to it and learning about it (and myself, it seems) but it does make sense. I feel 'I' finally make sense!

    If you feel as strongly as you say about it, and having read up on it, it's worth finding out one way or the other. Just for your own sake really because other than how you feel about and understand yourself, it doesn't actually change anything. There aren't really any services (although there is 'supposed to be' some sort of follow-up to help you come to terms with the diagnosis) available unless people need things like personal care, sheltered housing, or benefits. Some areas are better equipped than others though and yours may have support groups if you wanted to use them. 

    Good luck with your appointment, and if your GP is dismissive remember that you can ask to see another or get a second opinion! Not all GP's are very up to date on autism. You can also, I believe, self-refer but check with NAS about that on the helpline or on this site.  

  • I'very been considering asking for a referral since the end of last year but not plucked up courage yet. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers last year and going through the process with him and learning more about ASD has convinced me I have Autism also. Like you all the tests I've done say it's highly likely I'm on the spectrum.  Good luck if you decide to go ahead.

  • I'm not sure about your age. All I can say is that I think it is jolly sensible to get yourself assessed. The problem, you see, is, I have heard it is quite typical for the very intelligent "high functioning" ASD1 women to have a job or to participate in society and then when they turn 40-45 they start getting health issues, crash, get burn-out because they can no longer continue compensating. 

    I don't know if it is true for everyone. But what I would say is: people like me, who didn't know and keep trying trying trying trying and then finally crash, burnout etc... if you can find out you are on the autistic spectrum beforehand, you can start making adjustments and doing stuff for yourself and make your life better - before you start making yourself really unwell.

    Even if you don't tell others about your diagnosis, you know and can tell yourself that you don't stay longer than two hours at a party. You learn strategies to protect yourself more and force yourself less. You learn that sensory overload does not mean you are being a difficult person and you learn mildness and kindness towards yourself. The fact you feel like "not a nice person" sort of shows you are one, but are constantly put in a situation where you react in ways contrary to what your heart would wish.

    So, to me, if you have any doubt and it sounds like you are pretty suspicious this might be going on for you, then I think it should improve your life in the long run. 

    Don't worry about what other people might think or not think - that is their problem. You are doing this for yourself (and your husband). Put the question to the professionals and let them tell you their honest opinion and continue from there. There is no need to feel stupid. 

    And don't be put off by the ignorant few. Unfortunately some GPs still aren't in the know about different manifestations of ASD especially with women. 

  • The book "Women and Girls wirh Autistic Spectrum Disorder" by Sarah Hendrickx is well worth a read.